Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Decaying Plastic

Today I have started to scan a collection of slides for my cousin David.  I estimate there to be about 2000, dating from 1960 to more recent times. My strategy is to do the oldest ones first and work my way through by date.
 Box 1 was dated 1960 and on inspection it was full of sand.  Well, the plastic of the holding case had started to decompose into a sand like layer where it was in contact with the slide cases.  This type of decay is potentially toxic if the plastic is ingested.
 My immediate solution was to use a filter and vacuum clean to extract the decomposed plastic and to cover the base of the slide case tray with a strip of paper.  The slides were also vacuum sucked to extract debris from the surface.  As all of these slides are in glass cases, this was not an issue.
The slides are individually mounted in thick plastic cases which will not fit into a modern slide scanner.  However, I was able to adapt a spare scanner feeder to take a single slide at a time.  With a bit of fiddling I was able to set the position of the slide at the focal length of the scanner and off we went.
Quite pleased with the initial results.  I should be able to do a slide in 2 minutes including the file and copyright info., so that's about 2000 slides in 4000 minutes plus a couple of hours for cleaning and sorting the boxes and another batch of time for arranging a hard drive file. - about 120 hours of work.  The work may become faster as I move onto the more modern slides (I hope).

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Old Prunes

Rosie was sorting through the cupboards the other day and found a packet of prunes that were on their sell by date.  Some of them went into a chutney and I used the residue to make bread.
 I put some strong white flour and some spelt wholemeal flour into a bowl with dried yeast and whisked it together. The prunes were chopped into small nogs.
 Immersing the prunes (and a few sultanas) in warm water for an hour will hydrate them to prevent the bread drying out.  Mix up the prune and water solution, flour and some olive oil to make a loose dough and leave to rise for an hour.
 If the dough is too wet, more flour can be added.  Knock back the dough and form into bread tins (or rolls) and leave for at least 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in volume, then bake at 220 degrees Celsius for 28 minutes ( 200 degrees in a fan oven or 16 minutes for rolls).  Cool before eating.
 My random mix made 3 loaves.  I also made some Khorasan rolls for soup later in the week.

This bread was a joy with apple and cheese.  It can also be toasted to give a soft tea bread.  Two of the loaves have been frozen for a future treat.  They will defrost overnight when we want them.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Looking at Flight Sim Scenery

 I have been using my flight simulator to fly with pre-programmed aircraft in formation.  This has been an interesting test of skill and control.  It has mainly been from my own design airfields on Microsoft FSX.  However, with the anniversary update of Windows 10, the SDK program that is used to compile airport scenery is now unable to work.  I have not yet found a satisfactory solution to this problem.
In the meantime, I have shifted my airport design to another simulator called X-Plane 10.  Just for fun, I decided to design the airports and Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkneys.  This combination represents the shortest commercial flight in the world (just 2 minutes).
 On Papa Westray in FSX, the ground is flat and the air clear.
 The same view in X-Plane 10 gives a very similar scenery.
 Back on Westray in FSX, the flat terrain is unlike the real island scenery.
In X-Plane 10, the farm sits in a rise, standing out more in the landscape.
These airport scenery's are a compromise between reality and the ability to get them to fit into the computer memory.  FSX is easier to design for, but X-Plane 10 is better with memory space and detail.  Other comparisons that matter is that FSX is easier to observe the aircraft when in flight.  X-Plane wins on reality of flight physics, making it a more accurate flight experience.  However, the differences are slight, and I am comfortable using either simulator as I have the control parameters set as close to the same on each program.
X-Plane 11 comes out soon, and promises to be a much more user friendly version.  FSX has been abandoned by Microsoft and has migrated to Steam (Not so good).  But a newer version of that simulator is supported by Lockheed Martin in the form of Prepar3D (P3D) and the SDK works on that system.  It is however, more costly that FSX to run.  Where to go now?

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Halloween Bat

What! - a bat hunting in daylight. It must be hungry.
We were out at Buxton in the peaks and notice a long eared bat flitting about around the trees.  It was making elegant circling turns above us and visibly catching insects on the wing.  After about 20 attempts I managed to snap a reasonable image using manual focus.  The bright background and the speed of the bat made the cameras auto focus impossible.
I have often seen these bats in our garden, but always after dark.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Martin Pursglove RIP

Today we cremated my only brother Martin Pursglove


A life such as his cannot be summed up in a few words.

Martin making friends with a pigeon at Riber Castle Zoo
Martin Photographing me photographing Martin at RAF Newton
Hanging out at Mansfield Mines Rescue Station in the 1970's
Martin and a group of Scouts atop a big hill
Just time for a quick tea break at the Warsop Scout Camp in the 1980's
Martin with his son David at Rufford Park.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Flight Sim 2016

This morning was to be my day at Flight Sim 2016 at RAF Cosford.  Lunch and notes packed, I pulled the car out of the garage and "ping" the handbrake fell apart - good start.
That was 3 hours spent at Malvern Tyres in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent - they did an excellent job in difficult circumstances.
By noon, I had purchased a newspaper, consumed coffee, and watched cars being fixed.  Having dropped the newspaper at home in my repaired vehicle, I decided to drive down to Cosford for the afternoon.  It was worth it (Though the goody bag was a bit sparse at that time of day).
The stalls were in hanger 1 and I was pleased by the quality of the split screens that were on display.
All of the latest controllers and wide screens were available to try out and the virtual headsets were showing this year - they are much improved if you don't mind being enclosed in a virtual bubble.
The main reason for going was to hear Austin Meyer's talk on the new X-Plane 11.  This looks like a significant improvement to the simulation, bringing commercial and entertainment simulations much closer to the real world look.  Now I know what I want for Christmas.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Autumn is offically upon us

 During the Autumn season, fungi can be seen in abundance if you know where to look.  This Boletus is an edible variety, but I would not choose this specimen as it is growing in an area where I know there has been spraying of weed killer.
 Another clear sign of Aurumn is when the normally absent summer birds appear on the bird feeders as natural food is getting a little scarce.  I love to see the Long Tailed Tits in the garden at this time of year.  The Goldfinches will soon be back.
 Rose Bay Willowherb is shedding its fairy seeds.  These seeds will spread this annoying weed across gardens and farmland countrywide.  It is a plant that will sucessfully colonise any bare ground.
Of course, the classic sign of Autumn is the leaf fall.  We will soon be kicking leaves around the street again (and imported Christmas goods will soon be in all of the shops!).